Analyzing "The Storm." Essay

973 words - 4 pages

The setting in this story creates the perfect environment for an adulterous affair. In Kate Chopin's "The Storm", Chopin not only creates the perfect setting but also uses the setting as a symbol of the affair. Most likely occurring in the late 1800's and taking place in the deep South, the story gives an account of an adulterous affair between Calixta, wife to Bobinot and mother to four year old Bibi, and Alcee, husband to Clarisse, during a terrible rain storm. The presence of the storm is not merely coincidental. It is the driving force behind the story and the affair. As the storm begins, climaxes and ends so does the affair and the story.From the opening we see that Chopin intends to use the storm to move the story forward. The story begins with Bobinot and Bibi inside the local store. As they attempt to leave they notice storm clouds approaching the town. Deciding to wait out the storm, they remain inside. Meanwhile, Calixta is at home sewing and unaware of the storm. Soon realizing the storm is approaching, she begins frantically running about the house closing windows and doors and retrieving clothes left on the porch.Seeking shelter from the rain, Alcee approaches as Calixta steps on to her front porch. Chopin writes, "As she stepped outside, Alcee Laballiere rode in at the gate" (96). By providing a terrible storm Chopin creates an ingenious setting for this chance meeting. Chopin's intentions become even more apparent immediately after Alcee's introduction. To propel the story forward Chopin uses the storm to force Alcee inside Calixta's home. The story reads: "He expressed an intention to remain outside, but it was soon apparent that he might as well have been out in the open: the water beat in upon the boards in driving sheets, and he went inside, closing the door after him" (Chopin 96). Author and critic Barbara Ewell wrote, "Chopin adroitly matches the storm's irresistible development with the effects of passion on the two . . . lovers" (171). It is clear at this point that Chopin wants to bring these two together and is using the stormy setting to accomplish this goal. After all, the meeting between Calixta and Alcee is certainly less valid if the storm isn't present to bring it about.As it climaxes the storm continues to move the story but also begins to symbolize the affair between Calixta and Alcee. Concerned about Bobinot and Bibi, Calixta peers out of her window to investigate just as a bolt of lightning strikes a nearby tree. Chopin again uses the storm to direct the action. Frightened by the bolt, "Calixta put her hands to her eyes, and with a cry, staggered backward" and "Alcee's arms encircled her." (Chopin 97). Chopin takes advantage of the storm and uses it to literally push Calixta into Alcee's arms....

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